Afghan held peace talks with captured Taliban boss

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
Afghan officials say the Afghan government was holding secret talks with the Taliban

Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. After seven years in office, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's star is rapidly waning in Washington, with President Barack Obama saying Afghanistan's government is detached from the surrounding communities it is supposed to serve. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

KABUL (AP) - Afghan officials say the Afghan government was holding secret talks with the Taliban's No. 2 when he was captured last month in Pakistan.

A close aide to President Hamid Karzai says the arrest infuriated the Afghan leader. It also raised the question of whether the United States is willing to back peace discussions with top Taliban leaders who harbored the Al-Qaida terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Karzai's aide says the president “was very angry” when he heard that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was picked up by the Pakistanis with an assist from U.S. intelligence.

The confidante, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of their sensitive nature, says Baradar had also “given a green light” to participating in a three-day peace assembly that Karzai is hosting next month.

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